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Hearts In Bondage

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Hearts In Bondage

Publication date 1936
Topics drama
Publisher Republic Pictures Corporation
Lieutenant Kenneth Reynolds, a Naval officer, falls in love with Constance Jordan. Ken's friends with Raymond Jordan, also in the Navy; he's in love with Julie Buchanan. Captain Buchanan, however, sides with the Confederacy when his home state Virginia secedes, while Constance and Ken stay loyal to the U.S.

When ordered to burn the Merrimack with the rest of Gosport Navy Yard as the Confederate militia advance, Ken instead sinks it. He's courtmartialed and thrown out of the Navy. Ken then goes to work for his uncle, John Ericsson, to work on the Monitor. After getting into, and (thanks to some strategic mint juleps) out of, a contract debacle, the Monitor is approved and with some difficulty, launched.

Ken then fights and wins a place aboard the Monitor despite his dishonourable discharge. Now he has to fight the Merrimack and a horrible twist of fate, while trying to reconcile Constance and getting some help from a _highly_ unlikely source.

[Synopsis by uniQ.]

You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.


James Dunn .... Kenneth
Mae Clarke .... Constance
David Manners .... Raymond
Charlotte Henry .... Julie
Henry B. Walthall .... Buchanan
Fritz Leiber .... Ericsson
George Irving .... Cmmdre. Jordan
Irving Pichel .... Secretary of War Sumner Welles
J.M. Kerrigan .... Paddy
Frank McGlynn Sr. .... Abraham Lincoln
Ben Alexander .... Eggleston
Oscar Apfel .... Capt. Gilman
Clay Clement .... Worden
Edward Gargan .... McPherson
Russell Hicks .... Pillsbury
George 'Gabby' Hayes .... Ezra (as George Hayes)
Douglas Wood .... Adm. Farragut
Bodil Rosing .... Mrs. Adams
Erville Alderson .... Jefferson Davis
John Hyams .... Bushnell
Etta McDaniel .... Mammy
Warner P. Richmond .... Bucko
Lloyd Ingraham .... Timekeeper


Reviewer: Paul T Horgan - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 23, 2012
Subject: This version only lasts 52 minutes.
According to wikipedia, there are two versions of this film. This is the edited version, that pasts 52 minutes. The duration in the media column is incorrect.
Reviewer: djuma - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2011
Subject: The Monitor and the Merrimac, and "Captain Blood"
I agree with most of what has already been posted about this film. It is part soap opera, part historical drama- but does contain an excellent re-creation of the famous battle between the first two ironclads in the Civil War (not "The War of Northern Aggression," as another poster said). Considering that this was made by a minor studio- Republic- the special effects in the battle scenes are very well done. They are as good as things done at the major studios of the time. As one poster said, this was a half century before any kind of CGI, and viewers shouldn't approach the film from a modern standpoint. Considering what was available at the time- just miniatures, large tanks, etc.- the famous special effects experts, the Lydecker brothers, did an amazing job. I'm guessing that actor/director Lew Ayres carefully studied the then recent film, "Captain Blood," because the staging and cutting in the final battle scenes in this movie are very similar to those in that 1935 film. Director Michael Curtiz was a master at filming battle scenes, as can be seen in "Blood," and in the 1940 "The Sea Hawk," another Errol Flynn film. His action films were very influential, and other filmmakers copied his style. The way the crews look out the gun turrets, etc., are so similar to scenes in his films. And even the music used when the Merrimac/CSS Virginia is attacking the USS Cumberland is the same music used in the big battle scene at the end of "Blood."

Interestingly, some of the supporting actors in this film also appeared in those Curtiz spectaculars at Warner Brothers. Frank McGlynn, who appears as Lincoln, was in "Blood," as one of Flynn's loyal crew. And J.M. Kerrigan was another loyal crewman, in "The Sea Hawk." Some of the other actors here, like Henry B. Walthall, were D.W. Griffith veterans. It's interesting in that many of the Griffith actors, getting on in years in the 1930s, found homes at the "Poverty Row" studios, as character actors. Walthall is in tons of those movies (as well as at the Majors, in films like "Forty-Second Street" and "The Devil Doll"). It's nice that they had somewhere to work, once their silent-screen stardom was over.

Some posters have also mentioned the pacifistic message at the end of the movie. Some think it inappropriate for this film, but I disagree. Lincoln often said things like he does in the film, about being tired of war, and hoping mankind could live in peace. We all know that Ayres starred in the great anti-war film, "All Quiet on the Western Front," and in World War II, would register as a Conscientious Objector (a move that really hurt his popularity and career. When he became a frontline medic, his popularity was somewhat restored). David Manners, famous from so many classic horror movies, also appeared in another great war film, the 1930 "Journey's End." Mae Clarke everyone knows from "The Public Enemy," getting the grapefruit in the face from James Cagney. And being threatened by Boris Karloff in "Frankenstein." Clarke, Manners, and Ayres were all directed by James Whale, who made "Frankenstein" and "Journey's End."

Anyway, even though it's melodramatic, this film shows the famous duel between these ironclads pretty well. I can't think of another film that deals with this subject. It is such an exciting historical confrontation, that you'd think other filmmakers would be interested in it.
Reviewer: kareneliot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2010
Subject: The Monitor and the Merrimac
One of my favorite American Civil War films.
Reviewer: four hooves - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 3, 2009
Subject: Battle of the Iron Clads
I'm very glad that this movie has survived, regardless of its condition, and that has saved it. The title is somewhat misleading and the producers would have done far better to title it as the Monitor and the Merimac as this is a dramatization that leads up to and concludes with the famous battle between those two iron clad war ships at the beginning of the War Against Northern Agression (aka U.S. Civil War). The story includes a couple of romances as part of its central theme, but it also goes to great lengths to remind the viewer of the hard choices that men had to make concerning their allegiances which ultimately resulted in the war being fought by neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, and brother against brother.

I would imagine this film to have been a big hit when it was first released due to what would have been considered to be grand special effects during its dramatic action scenes. It's probably difficult for most of us, some 70 years after this pictures initial release, to fully appreciate the special effects of this film. We've been entirely spoiled with the realism of CGI on such recent films as Titantic, Independence Day and Transformers. But this film should be given a lot of credit for the FX realism it displayed for its time. In comparison to other films of its era, for the competency of its acting to the flow of the story to its interesting special effects, I would rate Hearts in Bondage as 4 out of 5 stars.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - January 9, 2006
Subject: Civil War brouhaha
Although I¡¦m not really too sure how much of this is true or not, this Civil War drama tells of how of course, the war Tour Friendships Apart and the building of the Monitor, a huge bulking ship. Although the document about how the Montor came about and the building and the actual deployment is quite interesting, the whole love story and the dilemma one lady has when two women she has, her brother, and her boyfriend are on two sides and going to war against each other is a bit silly. Again, I¡¦m sure some of it is fictionalized, as Abe Lincoln is in there talking to the main characters about lives lost etc. But all in all, this is a competent, if somewhat dragging effort from Lew Ayres, who should know something about war films, what after being blown to smithereens in All Quiet on the Western Front.
Reviewer: bobsluckycat - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 29, 2004
Subject: A Pacifist War Story?
Directed by Lew Ayres, this civil war naval drama about the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac, has a lot of historical background and a lot of pacifist sentiment, the battles at sea not withstanding. I saw this on TV in the 50's. I don't remember what I saw then except that Smiley Burnette and Gabby Hayes were in the cast. In fact on second viewing anybody and everybody on the Mascot/Republic lot at the time does a bit. That makes it fun in itself. This was Nat Levine's second "A" feature at Republic and his last as well. It has everything in it that would be Republic "A" picture trademarks in the future, long after Levine would be gone. The
broad scope, the Lydecker special effects, the large cast of "B" players. James Dunn is the star and he's quite good. The pacifist message through the voice of Abraham Lincoln and other players doesn't fit the picture. The Title also is all wrong. Sounds too much like a soap opera, which in some ways it is. Not "The Monitor And The Merrimac" which would have been a more succinct title. I believe this probably was also a failure upon release and I'm guessing here that it did not make back it's original negative cost. Interesting oddity. Good production values. Worth a look.
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